The school board fired Scott Ziegler, Loudoun County superintendent, Tuesday night following a grand jury report about the district’s handling two sexual assaults by the same student.
After a father accused the Northern Virginia of covering up his daughter’s rape in the girls’ restroom, the district was brought to national attention. The suspect was then charged in two cases.
The father claimed that the district tried to cover up his daughter’s assault in order to promote its transgender policies. This policy was subject to parental protests at LCPS board meetings.
Monday’s grand jury report stated that the district looked out for its own interests rather than the best interests its students, and that the school system had “failed at every point.”
According to the report, LCPS showed a “stunning inability to openness, transparency, and accountability, both the public and the special grand jury” regarding its response to the sexual attacks. Ziegler was also condemned for denying that he knew anything about the first assault that occurred in May 2021. The second assault took place in October 2021.
Ziegler stated at the board meeting, “The predator transgender student/person simply doesn’t exist” and that, to his knowledge “we don’t have any record regarding assaults occurring within our restrooms.”
However, in an email dated May 28th, the same day of the initial assaults, the superintendent informed school board members that there had been an assault.
According to the grand jury’s report, the district failed to intervene and change the events leading to the second assault at multiple points. The grand jury also stated that although it did not find any “coordinated covering-up” between school officials, the school board and school officials, the second assault “could and should have been prevented.”
The October 6 incident was ultimately caused by a remarkable lack of curiosity and adherence by LCPS administrators to operating in silos,” the report stated. LCPS also took the brunt.
Emails from the district indicate that senior officials met privately to discuss the assault. They also linked it to Policy 8040 which allows students to use locker rooms and bathrooms that match their gender identity.
Eight recommendations were made by the grand jury to LCPS to improve school safety, transparency, and communication.
The investigation is over and no indictments were issued.
Over 40 witnesses gave testimony to the grand jury. They also reviewed more than 100 pieces of evidence. The report stated that the LCPS schoolboard tried to “thwart and discredit” the investigation.